You may have heard a lot about this lately in the news- the Interstellar Travel Project. Basically the project aims to send small space crafts into another star system. It’s has gotten a lot of support from people like the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and more recently, Stephen Hawking. While it may seem light years away, interstellar travel may become possible in our lifetime.
Tiny Space Crafts, Large Amounts Of Money
Billionaire Yuri Milner launched this project several years ago. Around $100 million has been contributed so far towards this research program. The idea is to develop tiny space crafts, known as starships, that are the size of computer chips. The starships will travel trillions of miles into space. The craft would be propelled from earth into space with a giant laser. No other craft has been able to go into another star system before.
Exploration Like No Other
Many astronomers believe that there may be a planet, similar to earth, in another solar system. If the Interstellar Travel Project is successful, we could find not only other inhabitable planets, but possibly other forms of life, if they happen to exist.
The Difficulty Of This Project
The closest star system to us is around 25 trillion miles away. Using the resources we currently have available, it would take close to 30,000 years to reach that star system. The goal is to make a spacecraft that could reach it in 30 years or less. Utilizing a laser to push the craft into space would allow it to go a lot faster, and farther, in a much shorter period of time than any other method currently being used to go into space today. Before the space crafts can even be built, things like instruments and cameras will need to be developed that can all fit on the tiny chip. These items have to be durable enough to withstand the laser as well as the long trip to the other star system. Being that these items will most likely be traveling for decades, they need to withstand things like dust and space radiation. Realistically, there’s no telling what difficulties these tiny space crafts will face since we’ve never been able to travel this far into space before. They will need to be prepared for virtually anything.
Despite the difficulties of this project, the amount of money and the overall amount of time it’s taking, many scientists are hopeful that it will have a positive outcome.